|Sournia - Font de Colle de Jou||342km|
|113km off-road||May / September|
Quick GLR 16 overview
The GLR 16 Motorcycle Adventure Route leads you for over 342 kilometers through the Pyrénées-Orientales region of Southern-France and the Catalonia Region of Northern-Spain. 113 of those kilometers will traverse over off-road sections. If the going gets tough, The Back-up Tracks will support you with 7 different sections. With a total of 4 connecting GLRs to this GLR 16, you’re able to continue to Adventurise the region. Let’s get going!
GLR 16 Route info
It’s time to cross the border with Spain and to explore Catalonia! This GLR 16 motorcycle adventure route is your guide through the eastern Pyrenees. A perfect starting point for your Trans-Pyrenean adventure, or a lovely route to finishing your epic adventure.
You start your GLR 16 adventure in Sournia just a few kilometers from Perpignan. Here in the Pre-Pyrenees your first journey south. The first 90 kilometers are a nice mix between on- and off-road sections. But you only can go this far before you need to cross the border with Spain.
A longer on-road section leads you into Catalan territory. Shortly after, the GLR 16 makes a loop through a beautiful section of sandy roads! This loop consists of 21 km of off-road sections! If you’re in a hurry, I would suggest using the back-up route to cut this piece out of your trip.
After you’ve acquired the taste of Spanish off-road sections, the route turns south-west. An adventurous mix of on-road and off-road sections follow each other up. This is pretty typical for the Spanish GLRs.
After 342 adventurous kilometers, your GLR 16 adventure comes to an end at Font de Coll de Jou. This drinking water fountain gives you the opportunity to continue your journey into two different directions. More about the connecting GLRs down below!
GLR 16 Region
Dive into the Catalan Region with the GLR 16. This route explores the northern part of the autonomous region of Catalonia and the Pyrénées-Orientales department of France. Read more about these regions down below!
The Eastern-Pyrenees, as Pyrénées-Orientales is referred to is the department located in the south of France, enclosed by the Spanish border and Mediterranean sea. The department is also known as Northern-Catalonia and has been in fact part of Spain in recent History. After the French Revolution of 1790, the modern department was created.
The geographical landscape consists of three major river valleys which spring from the Pyrenees Mountains. As the Pyrenees gain altitude to the western border of the department, most of the landscape is dominated by the Mediterranean Sea. A Mediterranean climate becomes dominant the more you travel to the east. The rolling hills fade into the plains near the ocean.
These plains are the hottest and driest of the department and enjoy an average annual temperature of 16°C. As a matter of fact, the region is known for its abundance of sun even in winter. Although it sounds like an adventure riders paradise, be aware! The mountains are unpredictable and can spoil a nice sunny day quite fast.
The Costa Brava is the most populated region and sees the most tourists during summer. The coasts are focused mainly on tourism. With almost 20% of the population living near the coast, it isn’t the best area to Adventurise.
The interior has much more to offer for us as Adventurisers. With lots of wooded areas and agricultural fields, it’s a delightful area to explore. With an inland Mediterranean climate, it can become quite hot in the summer, so I would recommend looking out for the many canyons and small lakes to cool down.
Further to the north, the pre-Pyrenees flow gradually into the Pyrenees mountains. This is the most interesting area for us as adventure riders, offering many trails to discover. The climate shifts from a Mediterranean to an alpine, the more you gain in altitude. During spring you may encounter some snow drifts left from the winter, so take the occasional detour into account while planning.
It’s northernmost region peaks into the Pyrenees. Down from there, the Pre-Pyrenees stretch down south with steep hills and basins gently rolling out in the central depression. Parallel to the Mediterranean Sea, the Catalan Coastal Range gives a beautiful overview of the coastal region of the Province. It’s here where you find the capital Barcelona. Famous for its cultural heritage and of course its football club.
Barcelona knows a mild Mediterranean climate, which means that the summers can be extremely hot and the winters relatively mild. This is awesome for us as Adventurisers who want to start the season early!
In the north-east of Spain, you find the province of Lleida. As it’s located in the west of the autonomous region of Catalonia, it’s often referred to as the “west”. The capital which carries the same name houses 30% of the population.
With the Pyrenees to the north, it’s especially an upcoming destination for adventure tourists. In the north, you also find Catalonia’s only National Park: Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park. As this may be a beautiful area to explore on foot, for us as motorcycle riders it’s a little more difficult to find the trails we long to.
A little more to the south, in the Pre-Pyrenees, lots of mountain trails lead us through the hills. Due to its alpine climate, it can be quite chilly in spring, so expect the occasional snowdrift when planning your ride.
If we progress even more to the south, we find the central plains of Lleida. Freedom becomes a new expression in this area. Here you’re able to ride amongst the fields, meadows and century-old olive groves. With its inland climate, the summer can be hot. The many gorges and little lakes provide you with occasional refreshments.
Besides the abundance of the natural features in the province, Lleida has also a rich Romanesque heritage. You’ll encounter many ruins while exploring the backcountry. One of its main features is the churches of the Vall de Boi, which have been declared part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Adventurising isn’t only about getting as fast from A to B! A Region has so much more to offer! That’s why I give you some suggestions about things to do while Adventurising the GLR 16.
Les Orgues d’Ille-sur-Têt
The organs of d’Ille-sur-Têt are some natural phenomena to visit in the Pyrénées-Orientales department! These towering pillars have been formed throughout the years. To visit this place, you need to pay for parking. During the evening hours, you’re able to see the pillars dance during sunset!
Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park
The park knows no less than 40 Volcanoes! Don’t worry, the last eruption occurred more than 11,000 years ago, but the landscape they left behind is amazing! Nowadays it’s a natural park. The dark red soil lights up beautifully during the evening hours!
These towering hills are something to behold. Refreshing reservoirs with steep banks characterize the area and provide a welcome refreshment during the hot summers.
Castell de Cardona
Castell de Cardona is situated on a cliff overlooking the river valley of Cardona. This Medieval fortress is seen as the most important of Catalonia and arguably the most important of Spain. Originally constructed in the 9th century, nowadays it’s a luxurious hotel.
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Continue your GLR 16 Adventure by connecting different GLRs. To make your life even simpler, I’ve put together all the options down below!
Connections in Sournia
In Sournia the GLR Network provides you two options. Heading up north to the Mediterranean coast? Take the GLR 13 to Carcassonne. This GLR will lead you for over 168 km of which 58 kilometers will be off-road. The Aude region won’t mistreat you!
Not yet done with the Pyrenees? Follow the GLR 15 west, to explore the French side of the Pyrenean mountain range. The GLR 15 stretches over 232 km, of which 41 km will be off-road sections. Take this route if you want to do a Trans-Pyrenean adventure over the French border.
Connections in Font de Coll de Jou
After a long GLR 16 adventure, you’ll end up at Font de Colle de Jou. From here the Spanish Pyrenees are at your feet. Choose the GLR 17 to explore Andorra and its infamous “Smugglers Pass”. Although much of Andorra is on-road, this beautiful off-road section will make it worth your while. The GLR 17 will lead you over 216 kilometers through the mountains. Over 40% of this GLR will be off-road!
Is it too early in the season and you expect snow higher up? Or you want to explore the Catalan region even more? Take the GLR 23 deeper into the lower Pyrenees and head west with this amazing route. The GLR 23 sports over 257 kilometers of off-road sections! Yes, this route navigates 57% of the total of 446km over off-road sections.
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As an Adventuriser you get access to our special Back-up Tracks for the GLR-network. These routes function as a back-up when the going gets tough. In the event you need to circumnavigate a piece of the original GLR, the Back-Up Track will lead you via paved road to the next section.
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The GLR 49 motorcycle adventure route leads you for over 125 kilometers through the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County of Croatia and the Inner Carniola & South-east Slovenia regions of Slovenia. 78 of those kilometers will traverse over off-road sections. If the going gets tough, The Back-up Tracks will support you with 3 different sections. With a total of 3 connecting GLRs to this GLR 49, you’re able to continue to Adventurise the region. Let’s get going!
The GLR 48 motorcycle adventure route leads you for over 361 kilometers through the Goriška Coastal–Karst regions of Slovenia and the Istria and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County regions of Northern Croatia. 113 of those kilometers will traverse over off-road sections. If the going gets tough, The Back-up Tracks will support you with 13 different sections. With a total of 5 connecting GLRs to this GLR 48, you’re able to continue to Adventurise the region. Let’s get going!
The GLR 47 motorcycle adventure route leads you for over 88,9 kilometers through the Goriška / Inner Carniola regions of Slovenia. 65,1 of those kilometers will traverse over off-road sections. If the going gets tough, The Back-up Tracks will support you with 4 different sections. With a total of 5 connecting GLRs to this GLR 47, you’re able to continue to Adventurise the region. Let’s get going!